Garmin WAAS Coming Really Soon. No, Really

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Garmin couldn't keep the cat in the bag about its new GPSMAP 496, but it still had a few surprises up its sleeve for its Sunday afternoon press conference. The WAAS-capable GNS 430W and GNS 530W (W for WAAS, get it?) will be available this fall for $10,750 and $16,495 respectively. Garmin is sticking with its word to owners of non-WAAS 400- or 500-series navigators with an upgrade cost of $1500. The G1000 is also getting WAAS capable. Unlike the panel-mount GPS navigators, the G1000 uses Line Replaceable Units (LRUs) for its GPS information and that redesign is much more complex, according to Garmin's Senior Director of Aviation Marketing and Sales Carl Wolf. "It's not like the 430/530 where you can just slide in a chip," says Wolf, "it's going to take a lot of certification work yet." The upgrade picture isn't pretty for current G1000 owners either. The actual upgrade in the airplane will be as simple as replacing the non-WAAS GIA 63 with the WAAS GIA 63W and some software tweaks. Getting that new LRU though will cost many thousands. Garmin can't say exactly how many because it will be up to each OEM to set prices and timelines for G1000 upgrades, as well as work with owners or core credits for exchanged non-WAAS GIA 63s

Note: Garmin's press conference presentation is available, here (as a PowerPoint .pps file).